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tv   ABC World News Now  ABC  September 23, 2010 2:35am-4:00am EDT

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disturbing, more threats are emanating from here at home. in the last year and a half, at least 63 americans have been arrested or convicted of terrorism charges. >> that's an astoundingly high number. >> we have seen a dramatic spike. do you believe this is an aberration? or is this likely to continue? >> caution would dictate that we assume it is not an aberration. >> reporter: after eight years of relative inactivity, al qaeda associates have attempted three serious attacks on americans. there was the failed plot last september against the new york city subway. the christmas day bomb square in detroit. followed by the attempted bombing in times square on may 1st. not on the scale of 9/11, but had they been successful, these smaller attacks would have had a severe impact on americans' sense of security. >> launching a larger attack, perhaps more devastating attack, is not worth the additional effort when you can get a substantial coverage and impact with smaller attacks.
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>> reporter: al qaeda continues to aggressively recruit people, both abroad and here at home. officials say they're most worried about al qaeda's reach online. there was a setback in efforts to free 33 miners in chile. one of the hammers on a drill used in the rescue mission became detached yesterday. the crews were drilling through rock when it happened. the drill was repaired and work continued. rescued in early november, six weeks sooner than first expected. one lawmaker on capitol hill says hearings on a salmonella outbreak revealed a disturbing picture of egg production here in america. >> and the owner of an iowa egg farm did apologize to people who got sick from salmonella. t.j. winick has details. >> reporter: good morning, rob and vinita. lawmakers in washington got few answers on wednesday. the owner of one farm refused to testify. another blamed an ingredient bought from a supplier for the outbreak. eggs from two iowa farms were linked to a massive salmonella
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outbreak this past summer. as many as 1,600 americans were sickened. 30-year-old sarah lewis. >> they thought they were going to have to do emergency bowel surgery. >> reporter: and 77-year-old carol lobato. >> my doctors told me that i almost certainly would have died without aggressive intervention. >> reporter: the victims appeared before congress, as did the owners of those two farms. >> i respectfully decline to answer the question based on the protection afforded me under the fifth amendment of the constitution. >> reporter: the ceo of hillanddale farms refused to answer questions. wright county egg chief jack decosta offered a seemingly heartfelt apology -- >> we apologize to anyone who may have been sickened by eating our eggs. i have prayed several times each day -- >> reporter: his son suggested their farm wasn't responsible. >> we view the most likely root cause of contamination to be the meat and bone meal that was an ingredient in our feed. >> reporter: the fda in turn is
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asking the senate to pass a new food safety act that will give them more oversight. >> give fda the resources and tools we need for a modern and effective food safety system. >> reporter: senator tom coburn has held up the senate version because of its cost. >> please lift your hold and allow this vital safety legislation to move forward. >> reporter: the two iowa companies together recalled more than 500 million eggs in august. neither farm's eggs are back on the market yet. containers of instant formula are being recalled because they may be contaminated with insect parts. abbott laboratories is recalling up to 5 million packages of powdered similac. the company says beetles or larvae may have tainted that powder and could cause digestion problems. the powdered formula is sold in plastic containers in several sizes. get ready to spend more for some drinks at starbucks. some of the prices are going up.
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the coffee giant says prices will go up for many of the labor-intensive drinks that are made by the baristas. no word on which drinks will be more expensive or by how much. most drink prices should stay the same. some will even go down. central arizona is bracing for more rain today after heavy downpours triggered a mudslide yesterday. that mudslide covered a highway north of phoenix with six feet of mud and rocks and came down with such force it ripped off part of the guardrail. several cars were stopped, thankfully no one was injured. now here is a look at your weather. severe storms from kansas city up to southern minnesota. heavy rain and flooding in the decotas to eastern wisconsin. thunderstorms in phoenix, albuquerque and el paso. showers from san antonio to new orleans. >> summer-like in the southeast and mid-atlantic, hovering around 90 in atlanta and baltimore. 82 in detroit. 88 in chicago. 78 in omaha. sacramento gets up to 84.
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salt lake city 74. seattle just 59. thumbs up to a college student with some of the fastest fingers around. >> kansas state university senior amanda mitchum has been crowned the new texting champion. she managed to bang out the fastest and most accurate texts in the contests and she has her younger brother to thank for correcting a scoring error that would have eliminated her. >> to take her brother out to dinner. her brother recognized an error in someone else's text so he should get more than a din fer you ask me. >> no kidding. i'm still like this. we'll be back with more after i'm still like this. we'll be back with more after this.
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for years as many of you know lasik eye surgery has been promoted as a quick way to
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correct vision. millions so far have had the procedure. >> now a former fda official who helped get lasik approved in the first place is warning against it. elisabeth leamy explains why. >> reporter: lasik surgery promises a chance at 20/20 vision. but a former fda official says iodinehindsight is 20/20. knowing what you know now, would you ever recommend lasik to somebody you care about? >> no, absolutely not. >> reporter: dr. morris wexler was part of the fda team that green lighted lasik surgery in 1995. but then he says he started hearing about devastating side effects. so he asked his former employer to issue strong warnings about lasik. >> i think people don't understand, this is not like getting your nails done. this is not like getting a curl in your hair. >> reporter: in lasik a thin flap of the outer cornea is lifted out of the way. a laser flattens the inner cornea. critics say that compromised cornea can develop microscopic
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scar tissue and cause eye problems. here's what i look like to somebody with normal vision. here's the halo effect that many lasik patients see. starbursts like this are another common side effect. worst of all, some lasik patients actually experience blurred vision. according to wexler's analysis of fda data, half of lasik patients experience side effects and more than one-third continue to need glasses or contacts. >> my vision fluctuates very frequently. and i have to have new glasses constantly. >> reporter: the industry counters that most lasik side effects are minor or temporary, and that complications are much lower with today's modern lasik. nevertheless, the fda is now reviewing the procedure. elisabeth leamy, abc news, washington. >> interesting, always a hot new trend comes out, particularly in the medical world, people jump on it for years, years down the line they study, follow up on it, always seems to be a problem that creeps up that we didn't
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know about what it was the hot rage everyone was going for. >> i think they're saying 90% of people who have lasik have excellent results. it is those 10% of people who have to continue wearing glasses that it's not fair, it's not good. >> it's not good, thank god for these contacts. >> underage girls lured into selling sex. >> how the sex trade put one city on the map.
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now a look into the world of child sex trafficking here in america. suburbs, not big cities, are now the major hubs for these crimes. >> in portland, oregon, girls as young as 12 are being lured into prostitution. sharyn alfonsi investigates. >> reporter: we are on portland's 82nd avenue. they call it the tracks.
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police believe there are as many as 100 underage girls here, working the streets, the strip clubs, deployed to hotel rooms, rented and traded by pimps. how old are these girls and what do they look like? >> i have seen them as young as 12. >> reporter: police say young girls are being targeted by pimps. >> they look for them in the malls, they look for them on my space and facebook, they look for them in the schools, they strike up a friendship with them. and the tactic that they use, that they work to identify kind what was their needs are. >> reporter: acting less like brutish pimps, more like psychological surgeons. >> i can get you nice clothes and take care of you. then suddenly they're lavished all these goods and affection and everything and they think, wow, this person really cares about me. >> reporter: that's what happened to katie. we agreed to disguise her appearance. she's been forced to prostitute since the seventh grade.
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had you walked in heels even before all of this? >> i mean, like to go to church. >> reporter: katie was at this mall when she met two boys who introduced her to an eld older guy. he started taking her out, buying her things. what was he buying you? >> like purses, shoes, like outfits, like stuff like that. >> was he like a boyfriend at that point? >> yeah, i guess you could say, like yeah. >> reporter: soon he told her he spent too much money and needed her to help. >> i went to a strip club and danced or whatever. >> you danced at a strip club? >> yeah. >> you were how old? >> 13. >> when you'd go onstage at 13 years old, i mean, you're looking around at these guys, how old are the guys? >> probably old enough to be my dad or my grandpa. it was disgisting. i told him on my first night i wanted to go home. he's like, you can't go home until your shift's over and stuff like that. i said, i don't work here. he said, you do now. i pretty much just walked right into the trap. >> reporter: getting out is
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nearly impossible. >> people have been tied up with saran wrap and gang raped by 15 people. we're talking about 13-year-old girls. left in hotel rooms without food or water for days. >> reporter: one pimp tattooed his girls with a bar code. the girls a product that is in high demand. portland has more than 100 strip clubs and massage parlors. the largest legal commercial sex industry per capita in the country. bigger than even vegas. where you find a legitimate sex trade you also find the exploitation of children. >> reporter: an underage girl can make upwards of $1,000 a night for a pimp. but she won't see a penny. >> that's where when she's 9. >> reporter: her daughter had a nearly picture-perfect life. >> a six-figure salary. my daughter was getting as and bs and playing basketball. she didn't need anything. >> reporter: there was one thing she did want. >> she was 15. just starting high school. her dad and i were divorced. and her dad got a girlfriend a
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couple of years older than my daughter. so my daughter became really jealous and wanted to be with him all the time. >> you told him, if you're not around she's going to go find a father? >> she did. >> reporter: that man turned out to be a pimp. >> she had blisters. he'd leave her out freezing in the cold. >> how old was she? >> 16. >> reporter: route says she spent her life's savings trying to get her daughter out of prostitution and out of portland. we also learned that there are very few shelters that can actually keep these girls safe and they're expensive. they cost upwards of $500 a night. katie, the girl in our story, we're told her church held a bake sale so that she could be in one of those shelters. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. >> the question people ask is where are the parents? not a knowing what their life has become? >> it's really -- one of the
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authorities on this story said in particular, you'd think that maybe this is a certain class of people. in fact, it's a lot of times middle class kids. parents just don't know what -- can't control them, i guess. >> not just an inner-city problem. >> you can go to to get resources about helping victims of the second trade. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts # medicare, call this toll-free number now. "world news now" delivers your "morning papers." >> welcome back, everybody. we know we love a good animal story here on "morning papers." apparently great video out of eastern oregon where a rancher saw a black bear making its way across his ranch toward his cows. apparently that's when the cows and bears went at it a little bit here. and this is a little tussle there on the ranch. video here of these guys going at it a little bit. i guess there's maybe, you know -- sometimes to watch on the ranch there in oregon. the bear and cow went it,
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apparently some of the other cows saw the bear, backed up their friend. >> that is really incredible footage in the sense of how violent it is. i have to say i would have thought the bear would have taken it. >> i thought so too. aren't cows kind of dumb? >> yeah, yeah. that's not a -- certainly not something you see every day of the week. >> no. >> if i said the names demi moore and kim cattrall there's one word you think of. >> hot. >> most people think cougar. >> oh, well. that too. >> there's a backlash now to the word. a woman has come forward, she's not identifying herself, she's calling herself connie a. cougar. she has a website, i'm not a it's interesting. she says the so-called cougar craze is silly. she says she wants to start an embowerment campaign to prove women of a certain age who still look good shouldn't be labeled cougars. she says the idea came to her because she was out one night
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and someone came up to her, she must be an attractive older woman, and said, are you a cougar? she said she kind of got offended. she said she thinks this is a change in the trend. she points to the fact kim cattrall was offered the cover of a magazine, they wanted her to pose with a cougar, she said no. >> is there like an implied negative connotation? >> i think they're saying it essentially doesn't exist, it's made up by the media, there are no women out there prowling for much younger men. they might be looking -- like she says, men with hair, those might be the ones that happen to be younger, that is her words. >> really? >> oh, man. that's a good facebook debate. oh, man, no kidding. last thing here. how about the environment, energy efficiency, all this good stuff. there's a new lamp in cambridge, mas massachusetts, it runs on dog fec feces. this mit student went to india,
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saw these things, went back to cambridge, look, this thing really works, we're not taking advantage of the methane our pets leave behind. advantage of the methane our pets leave behind. pitc when someone gives blood, when a hand reaches out, that moment when heartbreak turns to hope, you're there through the american red cross. down the street, across the country, around the world, you help save the day, every day. your support truly matters. you can help today. visit
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foreign focus. the president's new international policies. his agenda today at the u.n. and its impact on the world. then, sexting scandal. the district attorney accused of sending harassing messages. >> it was like a mini bombshell. >> now, new accusations. and, biblical science. moses' parting of the red sea. a modern explanation. it's thursday, september 23rd. >> from abc news, this is "world news now." >> of course, everybody remembers that scene, charlton heston splitting the red sea in two.
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hard to believe some guy now saying science may actually have played a role, it may really have occurred. >> a pretty believable ration nat also. you'll have to stick around to see that one. >> good tease. good morning, i'm rob nelson. >> i'm vinita nair. president obama is here in new york this morning to give a major speech to a global audience. >> speaking at the united nations, the president plans to address middle east peace as well as nuclear threats from both iran and north korea. karen traverse has a preview. good morning, karen. >> president obama will address the united nations general assembly today. and his speech will be quite different from last year's. in that first address to the gathering of world leaders, mr. obama outlined his vision for a new kind of american foreign policy. >> we have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world. and now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges. >> reporter: mr. obama's aides said that today he will reflect
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on the success of that effort, including cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, bolstering the global economy, and repairing frayed relationships. once again, iran's nuclear program will be a key item on the leader's agenda in new york. administration officials said that the president will make it clear that the door is open for iran to have a better relationship with the united states and the entire international community. in addition to the official united nations events, president obama will also be sitting down on the sidelines with leaders from china, japan, and colombia. he will also attend a high-level meeting focussed on the upcoming referendums in sudan. the meetings this week provide president obama a chance to take the center of the world's stage. in his first year in office he was the global jet-setter, taking ten trips abroad. this year however he's been bogged down by pressing domestic issues like the economy, health care reform, and the oil spill in the gulf. mr. obama has stayed closer to home. for their part, republicans
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are unveiling today what they're calling a pledge to america. it's a list of ideas the gop believes will help it take control of congress come november. the pledge includes cutting taxes and spending, as well as repealing the new health care reform law. it also emphasizes job creation as a way of spurring the still-struggling economy. the white house says a new book about its afghanistan strategy shows a thoughtful and vigorous policy process. the book is called "obama's wars." the author, bob woodward, reveals presidential aides were deeply divided over the war. meanwhile, republicans are criticizing revelations about the nation's foreign policy. liz cheney, daughter of the former vice president, calls it alarming fatalism. initial steps are now being taken to remove a wisconsin district attorney now accused in a sexting scandal. the wisconsin governor's office wants a public hearing on the case but the d.a. involved is not bowing to the pressure. here now is barbara pinto. >> reporter: district attorney ken kratz was the man maria
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turned to for help to get a drug conviction pardoned. shortly after they met, she said the d.a. began sending her racy text messages. >> he would say things like, i'm in traverse city with my family for the week, in between naps, how can you please me in between the sheets? >> reporter: the law student later told her story to assistant district attorney richard ginkowski, who encouraged her to go public. >> it was like a mini bombshell. i mean, i wasn't planning to hear that news from somebody and it was shocking, it was disturbing. >> reporter: it appears she wasn't the first. stephanie van grol, a domestic violence victim, says kratz repeatedly texted her last year while prosecuting her case. one of the tamer messages read, you may be the tall, young, hot nymph but i am the prize. now a third woman has come forward. she claims to have met kratz online where he asked her on a date to view an autopsy. something his attorney calls completely being gus. kratz apologized. >> my behavior was
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inappropriate. i'm embarrassed and ashamed. >> reporter: he's taken medical leave to get psychiatric help but refuses to step down, despite the governor's call for his resignation. >> this is just a terrible violation of trust. >> reporter: a letter sent to 7ny van grol by the state panel that oversees attorney conduct called kratz's communications inappropriate but said they did not appear to involve possible professional misconduct. proceedings are under way to formally remove him from office. barbara pinto, abc news, chicago. gay couples in florida are now one step closer to being able to adopt children. a state appeals court found a law banning such adoptions unconstitutional. now the florida governor says the state will stop enforcing the adoption law immediately. but the governor admits the state's supreme court must remove the law from the books. the head of an iowa egg farm linked to a major salmonella outbreak has now apologized to those who got sick. that was certainly not enough to
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satisfy the victims and lawmakers yesterday on capitol hill. here's david kerley. >> reporter: 1,600 people were made sick, sir. the man largely responsible for the biggest egg recall ever wasn't talking to us. even though jack decoster did tell a congressional hearing he's horrified 500 million eggs were recalled and 1,600 people sickened. >> we apologies to everyone who may have been sickened by eating our eggs. >> reporter: decoster is no stranger to violations. decades of run-ins with regulators, he's paid millions in fines. in 1987, a salmonella outbreak that killed nine. but decoster says his wright county egg has cleaned up its act. >> if you've cleaned up your operations as you say, why did this outbreak occur? >> mr. chairman, this is a complicated subject. >> reporter: this is what inspectors found after the recall was ordered. dead chickens in a pile on the floor. so much manure, it pressed out a barn door. flies, maggots, rodents running
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through the hen houses. >> where you are now is where you feel cleaned up and adequate? >> sir, please, let me talk, okay? >> reporter: salmonella was found too but the decosters believe the bacteria came from an outside feed product. >> for you to come before us and say, it's the feed, we had nothing to do with it, is hard for me to believe. >> reporter: victims had a hard time believing decoster too. >> it just overpowered my whole system. >> reporter: 30-year-old sarah lewis, who nearly died, met with decoster after the hearing. >> i said, i am a real person and this is what you've done to me. >> reporter: when we asked -- >> will you take responsibility? >> reporter: all we got was silence. david kerley, abc news, washington. there is a new theory being offered about the sinking of "the titanic." it comes from the granddaughter of the most senior officer to survive the disaster. because of a steering error. she claims it sank because the captain continued sailing instead of stopping the ship. the officer's granddaughter just
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made the claims public in her new book. here's your thursday forecast. hail and gusty winds in southern minnesota, omaha, des moines, and kansas city. heavy rain and flooding from the dakotas to wisconsin. showers from san antonio to new orleans. thunderstorms from phoenix to el paso. >> mostly 70s from albuquerque to boise. a cool 56 in fargo. 72 in the twin cities. 82 in detroit. almost 70 in boston. 80 here in new york. a summer-like 88 in baltimore. near record highs in the southeast. on this first day of fall, no less, a gargantuan discovery is upstaging the largest home in america. >> what is that, you ask? it's a mushroom of all things. it's a mammoth mushroom to say the least, found on the grounds of the historic biltmore estate in north carolina. if you're wondering about the size of that thing it's about five pounds, eight inches tall, 48 inches around. they say it feels like aer in of ball. it contains 7 trillion spores. >> the biltmore is not saying
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what they plan to do with the humongous fungus. visitors have suggested everything from a huge pot of stir fry to mushroom pancakes. >> that's a scary looking mushroom. >> it's a little much. more after this, stay with us. you go next if you had a hoveround power chair? the statue of liberty? the grand canyon? it's all possible ith a hoveround., tom: hi i'm tom kruse, inventor rand founder of hoveround., when we say you're free to see the world, we mean it. call today and get a free overound information kit, that includes a video and full color brochure. dennis celorie: "it's by far the best chair i've ever owned." terri: "last year, 9 out of 10 people got their hoveround for "little or no money." jim plunkitt: "no cost. absolutely no cost to me." breaking news...when you call today, we'll include a free hoveround collapsible grabber with the purchase of your power chair. it reaches, it grabs, it's collapsible and it's portable.
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. parts of insects may have contaminated millions of containers of powder ee eed inf formula. drugmaker abbott laboratories is recalling up to 5 million packages of powdered similac. small beetles or larvae may be in that powder that can cause problems with digestion. the formula is sold in plastic containers. part of a michigan plant that makes the powder has been shut down. in an economy like this, having a good credit score can make all the difference when making major purchases. >> according to a new report,
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where you live can make all the difference with your credit score. here's the abc news business editor dan arnall. >> reporter: for millions of americans, a credit score is key to getting the things they want. a new car. a new home. even everyday items they pay for with a credit card. now your credit score can also help you keep up with the joneses. credit giant experian published a list of average credit scores for consumers in american cities. >> a credit score is a reflection of the risk in your credit report. so if you get your score, then you'll better understand how lenders are going to view your risks. >> reporter: the top cities are in the midwest. minneapolis, madison, green bay, wisconsin, cedar rapids, iowa, all having better than average credit. the cities with the worst scores include harligen and corpus christi, texas. >> in areas where you have foreclosures those individuals are going to be hard-hit.
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>> reporter: average credit scores are affected by many factors. when it comes to cities, lower than average unemployment rates might be the key to being at the top of the list. for individuals, lowering outstanding balances, clearing errors on your credit record, and paying your bills on time are the biggest factors in bringing your credit score higher. dan arnall, abc news, new york. >> if i once learned the hard way in college, below 600 you're not doing too good. 640 or above you're pretty solid. 690 or above you're excellent. >> the average person has at least one mistake on their credit score report and they may not even know about it because it could be false information. then they encourage you to run a credit score on yourself just to find out what's on there about you. >> better to know than not to know. pay attention to the new credit card laws that went into effect. the tea party past and present. >> today's grassroots movement fifty-eight different individuals are using,
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"the daily show's" john stewart was on fox news last night squaring off with bill o'reilly. stewart was on "the o'reilly factor" to promote his new book. the two talked about serious topics. o'reilly pressed stewart on president obama's job performance, the tea party, and stewart's october 30th so-called rally to restore sanity. >> why are we going, why are we there? >> when i go out to real americans -- plumbers and such -- they tell me they don't feel represented by the extremities they see on things like fox news. they say the real voice of the people has been muted by the extremists. that the loudest voices are the ones that seem to carry the day. so what i'm hearing is they want to feel a catharsis that they're not alone, that they're also represented. >> now o'reilly will appear on stewart's show next week, and today on capitol hill stewart's
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coho cohort, stephen colbert, will report on immigration reform. co colbert will be on "good morning america" talking to george stephanopoulos. the tea party movement has become such a political power these days the fight for control in congress in the upcoming midterm elections could rest in the tea party's hands. >> where did this grassroots movement come from, and how did they become so popular, seemingly so fast? >> reporter: this is a tea party -- >> how would you like your tea? >> reporter: this is a tea party. and this is a tea party. so how did we get from this, to this, to this? it starts here. boston, massachusetts. 1773. colonists decide the british have more than bad feet, also bad taxes. destruction of a good drink leads to creation of a revolution. fast forward 236 years. economy in the toilet. housing in the gutter. national mood in the sewer.
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welcome to your new job, mr. president. >> so help me god. >> reporter: government enacts big stimulus, big auto bailout, big housing relief. it all costs big money. >> this is america! >> reporter: big objective journalism. >> how many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? raise their hand. president obama, are you listening? >> reporter: meet rick santelli. on-air editor for cnbc. >> a chicago tea party in july. all you capitalists that want to show up to lake michigan -- >> reporter: santelli orders a tea party. not this kind. this kind. outsiders and insiders. >> you vote against america's future, we're going to fire you. >> reporter: freedom works posts guides how to organize your own tea party. grassroots gets busy. april 15th, 2009. tea parties go national. >> we are spending way too much
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money and we're making our poor grandchildren pay for bills that are being accumulated now. >> reporter: fox news goes wall to wall. >> celebrate with fox news. >> reporter: they report. you decide. summer of 2009. obama health care push. >> this is a serious problem for america. >> reporter: tea party push-back. no, not this kind. but this kind. >> i want to know if it's coming out of my paycheck. >> reporter: called facist. called a fad. tea party starts calling the shots. take scott brown in massachusetts. he's running for ted kennedy's seat, or rather -- >> it's not the kennedy seat, it's not the democrats' site, it's the people's seat. >> reporter: brown wins. tee party rolls. tea party, lots of tea parties. tea party nation. tea party express. new american tea party. tea party revolution. the republican convention.
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invited sensation. >> god bless the tea partyers and god bless the usa. >> reporter: tea party loves palin. >> you wrote a song about her. >> yes. ♪ sarah, america woman >> reporter: tea party goes big-time. glenn beck takes washington. incumbents beware. even republicans. down goes bennett. down goes murkowski. down goes castle. tea party favorites roll. rubio. angle. paul. miller. o'donnell. table is set for november. set for a tea party. no, not this kind. but this kind. i'm john berman in new york. >> "the washington post" actually has an interesting op ed article about the tea party. one thing they say i think a lot of us can agree with is this is a very small group that has really shaken american political life. there's a small number of people on self-identity as tea party
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members. yet they garner so much media attention. >> they have changed the entire political landscape heading into november. that's going to be a fascinating vote in five weeks. >> to say the least. coming up next, today's science explains a biblical wonder.
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finally this half hour, science verse the bible. the story of moses parting the red sea and helping the israelites escape esjypt has been told for ages. now a researcher says he knows how moses made it happen. was it the hand of god or just good timing? >> reporter: it is a key chapter in what's been called the
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greatest story ever told. as portrayed in the movie "the ten commandments," the bible says the israelites when fleeing egypt got stuck between the pharaoh's army and the red sea. on moses' command, the waters parted, allowing the israelites to escape. enter karl drews, a software engineer from the national center for atmospheric research. he says at long last, he's discovered a plausible explanation. >> the exciting thing about this research is that there is a scientific basis for this 3,000-year-old story. >> reporter: he used old maps and satellite data to build this computer model which shows that when a strong wind blows out of the east all night long, just like it says in the bible, the water is pushed back, leaving a muddy patch that somebody could walk across. and when the wind dies down, the water rushes back in. >> it showed the body of water lowering in level and splitting around the point of this peninsula, and then dividing on both sides. the crossing is open for four
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hours. the crossing is three kilometers long and four kilometers wide. so there's plenty of room to get across. and i'm kind of imagining ankle-deep mud in that spot. >> reporter: we should point out karl drews is a devout christian and some of his peers have asked whether his beliefs may be coloring his science. >> i have to put on my scientist hat when i'm looking at this. i've got my scientist hat on and i'm trying to analyze this objectively. >> reporter: what leading scientists we reached tonight said it is possible drews was swayed by his faith, but he also said when you look at the work, it's also possible that drews has found a reasonable case for a miracle. dan harris, abc news. >> this guy's not the first one to take a stab at this and do the math and crunch the numbers. other scientists have looked at this and years and said literally it would have taken hurricane-force winds and it literally would have blown the people over who were crossing the sea. >> there's been so much
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fascination with the exodus story. now perhaps an explanation of what really happened. >> debate will go on for sure. that's the news for this
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terror testimony. serious concerns about another attack. >> caution would dictate that we assume it is not an aberration. >> revealing new details from top intelligence. then, clergy controversy. what a prominent pastor says about a scandal involving three men, sexual coercion, and a lawsuit. and, shoe safety. could your footwear turn you into a dangerous driver? it's thursday, september 23rd. >> from abc news, this is "world news now." >> it would seem that study is solely focused on what us women are wearing on our feet.
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>> to be honest with you i've tried to drive in flip-flops before, i felt out of control too. i don't know how y'all walk or drive in those stilettos. >> what we normally do is take them off and drive barefoot. at least that's what i do. not a safe way to do it. >> really? barefoot? >> yes, i do that, when i used to drive. now in new york we don't have to. you'll hear all about other women's techniques. good morning and thanks for being with us. i'm vinita nair. >> i'm rob nelson. to the news now. we begin with new warnings about possible terror attacks worldwide. police in france warn that country is facing a major terror threat likely from al qaeda. >> in the u.s., dire warnings about our nation's vulnerability. here's pierre thomas. >> the past year has noted the most significant developments in terrorism since 9/11. >> reporter: in the last 18 months or so, at least 63 americans have been arrested or convicted of terrorism charges. >> that's an astoundingly high
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number. >> we have seen a dramatic spike. do you believe this is an aberration or is this likely to continue? >> caution would dictate that we assume it is not an aberration. >> reporter: the warning from the nation's top officials was blunt. the threat from within from americans willing to commit acts of terror here at home is growing. >> since 2006, al qaeda has looked to recruit americans or westerners who are able to remain undetected by heightened security measures. >> reporter: after eight years of relative quiet after 9/11 al qaeda affiliates launched three serious attempted attacks in only seven months. there was last september's failed new york city subway plot. the christmas day scare three months later. the times square bombing attempt this past may. authorities say these plots may not have the scale of 9/11 but still had international impact. >> launching a perhaps more devastating attack is not worth the additional effort when you can get substantial coverage and impact with smaller attacks.
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>> reporter: the bottom line, the prospects of an attempted attack is growing. pierre thomas, abc news, washington. israel is dismissing a united nations report about its deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed for gaza back in may. nine people were killed when israeli commandos boarded a ship as it attempted to break israel's blockade of gaza. the u.n. report accuses of israeli forces of using unacceptable levels of brutality. israel claimed its soldiers acted in self-defense. president obama steps on the world stage today when he addresses the u.n. general assembly. last night during a fund-raiser hecklers interrupted the president. the protesters demanded more money for aids research at the president's event which took place here in new york. others demanded immediate action on repealing the military's don't ask, don't tell policy when was a key campaign promise. the president suggested they holler at republicans instead. there is more fallout this morning from author bob woodward's book on the white house afghan war strategy.
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>> it shows presidential aides deeply divided over how best to fight the war. this morning the administration is trying to put a positive spin on the book. john hendren is in washington with more. good morning, john. >> reporter: good morning, vinita and rob. the white house insists president obama is certain he got his afghan war strategy right. but a new book says there was a lot of disagreement and name-calling before he got there. it's the book that has washington buzzing. bob woodward's "obama's wars" is a detailed account of how the obama administration assembled its policy for the war in afghanistan. it portrays the president as a leader urgently trying to find a way to end u.s. involvement there, at one point saying, "i want an exit strategy." woodward reports the president pressed top advisers for a withdrawal date and terms and when he didn't get one, he drew one up himself. the book says the president had to balance politics and national security after pledging to change president bush's policies
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in the war on terror. >> this president has embarked upon a very bold gamble in afghanistan. he's trying to reverse a disaster that he inherited and turn it into something that ensures american security is improved. >> reporter: the president told woodward joorkts we can absorb a terrorist attack. we'll do everything we can to prevent it but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever, we absorbed it and we are stronger." >> he doesn't want the united states to be knocked off-balance by future terrorist attack the way it was by september 11th. >> reporter: abc news also confirmed woodward's revelation that there is a secret cia army made up of 3,000 afghan paramilitary soldiers to go after militants in both afghanistan and pakistan. the book isn't even out in stores yet and the white house has already responded saying the president comes across as "analytical, strategic, and decisive." vinita and rob? with an eye on november's elections, republicans today unveil what they call their pledge to america. it is a list of ideas the gop
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believes will help it take control of congress come november. the pledge includes cutting taxes and spending and repeal of the new health care reform law. it also emphasizes job creation to improve the economy. we're expected to hear this morning from an atlanta minister at the center of a growing scandal over sex abuse accusations. bishop eddie long, the married father of four, has strongly denied allegations in three separate lawsuits. here now is steve osunsami with details. >> reporter: bishop eddie long is considered one of the most anti-gay pastors in the country who once said homosexuality is a spiritual abortion. if today's accusations are true he might regret the day he led thousands through the streets of atlanta in protest of gays and same-sex marriage. >> woman and woman and man and man is not right. so that's why i stand with the bishop. >> reporter: in the lawsuits filed by three young men he recruited into the youth ministry at his gigantic church outside atlanta, they described him as a sexual predator who
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pushed them into sex, lavished them with expensive gifts, and sent them these photos, texts and e-mails when they were above the legal age of consent, but just 16 and 17 years old. they say he certainly doesn't look like a bishop here. >> what pastor in his right mind sends a picture of himself posing in a bathroom in a muscle shirt? none. none that i know o >> reporter: at the funeral of coretta scott king which took place at his church in 2006, some civil rights leaders refused to attend because long is so anti-gay. he isn't just any pastor. he leads one of the largest african-american congregations in the world. this bishop drives a bentley and has his own private jet. these young men say that many people in the church who are close to bishop long knew what was going on but covered for him and kept quiet for years. in a statement, long's attorney says the bishop denies the accusations. his accusers say there were hundreds of young men in his youth ministry and they believe more of them will come forward.
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steve osunsami, abc news, atlanta. a major study is being organized to research the health effects of the bp oil spill. some 27,000 people who have helped clean up the oil are going to take part. bp is spending $10 million to pay for the study. researchers also plan to look into the psychological effects of the disaster. a close call for workers in pittsburgh. as severe storms ripped through the city. lightning hit an office building that used to be a church. the powerful bolt sent the steeple crashing through the roof. it slammed into a woman's desk just moments after she got up to attend a meeting. just look at all that damage. thankfully no one was hurt. >> very lucky. now here is a look at your thursday forecast. 70-mile-an-hour winds and hail from minnesota to kansas. up to 4 inches of rain and ebaoding fr thes to showers in south florida, new orleans, houston thunderstorms from southern >> cooler in the pacific 59 in seattle. 65 in portland.
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phoenix hits 95. boise 75. meanwhile, 78 in omaha. 88 in chicago. 91 in indianapolis. upper 80s from baltimore down to miami. it was the king of all bake sales after new orleans snapped up a new world record. >> we told you yesterday how the bakers in the big easy were hoping to make the biggest king cake ever. well, they did it and their king cake circled the superdome twice. there were actually two cakes each weighing more than 4,000 pounds. >> the cakes were topped off with black and gold sprinkles in honor of rob's of course favorite team, the new orleans saints. in case you're wondering these slices sold like hotcakes and all of the profits went to cancer research. >> it's one thing they do well in new orleans is eat so that cake did not last long, i know that. so
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welcome back, everybody. thanks to a survey done for the bbc, we might finally know why, according to some folks, women are such bad drivers. hm. >> that survey shows that female drivers sometimes do not feel in control of their car because of the shoes they are wearing. here's the bbc's sophie van brugen. >> reporter: millions of us get behind the wheel every day. but before you step into your car, how hard do you think about what you're wearing on your feet? >> i'm just going around town, it's a five-minute drive. i'll just wear whatever's on my feet. >> i'm going long distance, i want something comfy. normally trainers. >> my friend had a bad accident. she was wearing red sandals and they actually got caught under the pedal. >> reporter: in a survey, the aa questioned over 18,000 drivers about what shoes they wear to drive in, and if it affects their confidence behind the
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wheel. over one-quarter of people said they haven't felt fully in control of their car because of what they were wearing on their feet. of them, 4% of people admitted that wedges had caused them problems behind the wheel. 25% said wellingtons or walking boots made them feel not completely in control. flip-flops came out the worst with 27% saying they made them feel unsafe. >> it's a worrying set of findings. the key messages to people i think are that having the wrong shoes or having shoes that don't let you control the car could lead to an accident, could lead to your conviction, possibly prison in the worst cases. >> reporter: of course, there's nothing new in wearing wedges and platforms. they were all the rage in the 1990s. and carol decker had a close call in hers. >> i was wearing a huge pair of spice girl-inspired wedge platforms. and the wedge is like that, the heel was like that. i was on holiday driving to
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france with my boyfriend. as we approached the toll booth, you have to stop and pay. my foot got caught between the accelerator and the brake because the shoe was so clumpy. my boyfriend's screaming, stop, stop, stop! i said, i'm trying, i'm trying! i went to press the brake and i pressed the accelerator because my foot was caught and we sped up. we hit the car in front with quite some impact. >> reporter: exactly how does the wrong shoe affect the way you drive? >> this is our test kit. >> reporter: at this crash center in derby, we tested a whole array of foot wear, measuring that critical fraction of a second it takes to brake. in this stationary test vehicle, we simulated driving at 50 miles an hour. trainers came out best. it took just under half a second to hit the brake. stilettos were a bit slower, taking .52 seconds. flip-flops fared significantly worse at .60. wellington boots were a slow.66 seconds. wedges came out bottom at .69 seconds.
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the only thing in the highway code on shoes is not to wear anything that prevents you using the controls. so whilst it's not necessarily illegal to drive in the wrong foot wear, the advice is that taking a spare pair could prevent an accident. >> i'm a bad driver. >> you admit it. that's scary. >> i openly admit i'm a bad driver. i have to say it's not my shoes, it's my general lack of paying attention. i think i'm better alone. my husband says, how do you get anywhere? i think it's like when i talk to someone i get -- >> people say sometimes they get nervous, someone else in the passenger seat. i won't be driving with you any time soon. >> nobody wants to. coming up next, "t
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welcome back, everybody. time for "the skinny" here. you know, you remember this legendary appearance by joaquin phoenix in 2009 on "the david letterman show" where he kind of went off, kind of nuts, didn't
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talk, stuck gum under the desk, all these very strange things joaquin did. of course it's come out since the movie "i'm still here" it was all a fake, an act of him going from acting to a hip-hop artist. joaquin went back to letterman last night really to apologize and to say to dave, i hope i didn't offend you here. there are also reports paul shaffer knew about it ahead of time and dave did not. joaquin goes on to say to dave, i thought you'd know the difference here. take a look at joaquin then and joaquin wednesday on "letterman." >> you're having fun. you're having fun, relax, seriously. i'll come to your house and chew gum. >> i don't have to -- >> no, relax. >> i won't chew the gum. >> joaquin, i'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight. >> did i know anything about this? >> no. >> was there a script that you and i were working with? >> no. >> thank you very much.
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>> i apologize. i hope i didn't offend you in any way. >> oh, no. oh, no, no, no. i was not offended. >> okay. >> i'm telling you, it was so much fun. >> as you can see there, joaquin totally cleaned up. the scraggly beard is gone. basically had a good time doing it. this was the big talk of the town, february 2009 during that initial appearance. joaquin admitted the movie it was a fake, it was all an act, why he did it when knows. apparently david and joaquin have made amends, all water under the bridge. >> you have to wonder if he had to address any of the allegations there's a lot of drugs involved in what got him to that 2009 image. >> you have to wonder. he said he was just playing a character. it was real drugs or pretending he was high, whatever, the difference a year makes, i guess. >> jon hamm, the it guy from "mad men," interesting article with him in the uk magazine "the observer." he basically admits to having struggled with chronic depression.
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it's actually kind of a sad story. he says his mother had passed away, she died from stomach cancer when he was only 10 years old. he immediately went to live with his father, then his father passed away. they say he basically went on a series of antidepressants and therapy at age 20 to battle chronic depression following the death of the fatr. he says the way it al sorted out in his life, he had really good friends lif whose parents intervened and said we have to help you out. he says he did therapy for a brief period to help rec of course i think a lot of people look at him and think, a guy a successful caree phd y. it's an interesting side to see the actor who's obviously been through a lot toe toe he >> hey, man, we all got problems, right? hollywood's not immune to that. news i'm sure you're dieing to hear about this morning. paris hilton is back in the united states. obviously the story yesterday, came out overnight she was not allowed in japan because she had
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pleaded guilty to a drug chage amia.d guilty to a drug chage yesterd she respectsaws po c3 nbadd her she said it was a pretty harrowing experience, meager accommodations, interrogation by immigrati offs in so on, so paris is back after pleading guilty to the wholee around his house. these people chose freedom over restrictions. independence over limitations. they chose mobility. they chosehe scooter store. and this is the team of mobility experts who made it all happen. ii great news, you've been approved for payment. dr. cruz, i'm calling on behalf ofmarie stanford. and they can make it happen for you. hi, i'm doug harrison, if you're living with limited mobility, call the scooter store today. i promise, no other company will work harder to make you mobile or do more to ensure your total satisfaction. i expected they'd help me file some paperwork with medicare and my insurance. i never expected them to be so nice or work so
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and here are some stories to watch today on abc news. exactly six months after congress passed the health care reform law, some new benefits go into effect today. children can no longer be denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions. many parents of many adult children will also benefit. the first woman in 50 years to be executed in virginia is set to die tonight. the u.s. supreme court refused to block the death sentence for convicted murderer teresa lewis. lawmakers on capitol hill today discuss a serious problem among student athletes. they're considering ways to prevent young athletes from suffering concussions while playing sports.
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finally this half hour, "forbes" magazine just released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in america. bill gates topped the list with a net worth of $54 billion. >> the list also shows that the rich are in fact getting even richer. abc business news editor dan arnall looks at the trend. >> reporter: the faces are familiar. bill gates. warren buffett. these are america's wealthiest people. topping the famous forbes 400 list of the richest americans again this year. even with the slowly recovering economy, the amount of money it takes to be amongst the 400 has gone up. >> 2008, the cut-off was $1.3 billion. last year $950 million. this year up a bit to $1 billion. it's at least moving up. we'll take that. >> reporter: this year's list of 400 are collectively worth $1.4 trillion. an average of more than $3 billion apiece. bill gates is number one again with a fortune of $54 billion. warren buffett, sharing the cover of this year's magazine
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with music mega star jay-z, is number two with $45 billion in the bank. both buffett and gates are using the list as a recruitment tool. for their giving pledge billionaire philanthropy effort. targeting the wealthiest americans to donate at least half their fortune during their lifetimes. so getting on this exclusive list might get you a charity call from one of these two money celebrities. >> since this list first came out back in 1982, i guarantee you almost every development office in the country for colleges, universities, hospitals, whatever other cause, has looked at that list and said, is there a prospect here? >> reporter: 16 new names appear on the list in 2010. and 217 of the 400 billionaires on the "forbes" list saw their fortunes go up in value in the past year. dan arnall, abc news, new york. >> the biggest gainer on the list was mark zuckerberg, the guy from facebook, $6.9 million. what surprised me, though, is now he jumps ahead of both steve
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jobs from apple and google's eric schmidt. he is really an up and comer. and so young as well. >> the power of facebook, man.
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